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  • Writer's pictureBrian Burns


How do I manage my manager? This question is probably the most common thing that I'm getting from reps on the career side is they're getting micromanaged today, and it's the natural thing. Managers who do this are a hired and put into place this and the dashboard manager just watching the spreadsheets, looking at the dashboard, counting the KPI's, and it's adding no value to the rep, so the rep feels neglected. Fields pushed off, told what not to do and not getting the results. Looking for the silver bullet, listening to podcasts that show you that pretty much the exact opposite of what their managers are telling them. Also, it's not that your manager, I'm wrong, uh, they can be wrong, but they're working off of what used to work, and they're working off of what they're told on the Internet by people who teach what used to work.

Sales have changed so much. I'd say last in the last three to five years that the trainers, first of all, most never sold. Look at every significant sales trainer out there. They, last time they sold was probably 10, 15 years ago. Moreover, some of them have never sold, most of them have never sold some of the most popular ones was a used car salesman and Louisiana. Somebody out there works for his mommy for 20 years, has never sold anything. Writes a bunch of books. Somebody has a job board. He's never sold rights. Many books talk about it. Some guy sold beanbag chairs in the seventies. This is what the sales profession has become, and it's. It's terrible. So that's why I'm so passionate about doing the podcast because when I was in sales, I had the same problem. All the books were about the simple sale.

There were a couple about the complex sale, but they really didn't go deep enough, and the training didn't go deep enough. It was all about, you know, tagging things and identifying things and talking in somebody else's words and not understanding how it happens because what the people who wrote them learned very little. Also, I got to tell you, and I probably have learned more about sales in the last five years than in the previous 20. Why? Because I live it every day. I listened to everybody's problems, what they're up against and some of them are common, but some of them are brand new, and the world has changed. It's gotten so noisy out there that the things that worked five years, even three years ago, even a year ago aren't working. That's why I did the courses because I have to get things to work and I have to adapt, and it's on my nickel.

It's. I'm not. I have no base salary, so everything that works or doesn't work is entirely up to me. So that is why I am adamant about sharing videos, and what doesn't work and I'm telling Ya because I interviewed these sales trainers and it's like, oh blah blah blah blah blah, and now the managers follow it and they hire them and them. They don't want us. They don't want to get their hands dirty because who wants all that rejection? That's what we're faced with every day and these n number of touches and end number of days. You could not come up with something that is counter-effective more than that. Also, now we've got this technology that automates what doesn't work, and then we watch what doesn't work, and we use sales logic that says if it doesn't work, we got to do more of it because it's a numbers game.

I'm here to tell you it's a people's game. It's a quality game and you can, um, you can keep doing the numbers. Also, I get the hate from the numbers people, they're like, no, you're going to do more, Robert, you go to automotive. I was like, okay, but it's still a person on the other end. My phone rings off the hook every day. I spend the first 15 minutes every morning unsubscribing to email lists I never subscribed to. Okay, I get it. I understand where you are. So how do I manage my manager, Brian? That's the question enough about your rents. First, you got to understand their position. They're not mean people. They may appear to be doing mean things, but what they are trying to do is get the job done. However, what they're telling you to do isn't working. You can tell if it works or not.

Also, if it's not working, it's up to us to figure out what does work there. You will fire you if you do what they tell you and it doesn't work, they're going to blame you. They're not going to own it. I'll let you know that right now. So I know you're between a rock and a hard place. So what do I do? You can't fight them, uh, certainly not until you have their respect and some level of integrity and belief that you're the right person and you know what you're doing. So you've got to build that up. You've got to work around their system. You got also to understand, they know you're not going to do everything they tell you, but you have to do some of it. You have to do enough of it to be visible and to continually support them and befriend them and understand the pressure that they're under and make it appear like you're doing every, as much as they ask is plausible.

I've told this story at one company I was at. They had these wind reports which was just a doc or a word doc, and they wanted it every week on every major deal and all I did was name a bunch of files that were empty versions or the same version of a wind report because I knew they never opened it and I'd send it up the line every week and nobody ever asked a single question about it because they didn't read it. So you got to understand. So much of this is playing games, and I've even been on the board of companies where I know damn well after that board meeting, that CEO goes off and does whatever he wants and that everything that they're presenting during the board meeting, 80 per cent of it is bs. So that's the game we play. It's a lot more like office space than we'd like to admit.

So we have to understand that. So I'm not telling you to fib. I'm telling you to follow the game you're playing, and you can say, well, I don't want to play the game. Well. You're going to play the game. Whether you like it a nod, not playing the game is still playing it, it's not showing up. So fighting it doesn't work because they always win. The House always wins. So you have to work around the house to get the things that you want to be done to cool off, to understand that you are playing a game, uh, to do some smiling and nodding. Don't be the kiss ass, but also don't, don't be the rebel because the rebel always gets shot. Trust me, and I've been the rebel that companies and that are why I'm out on my own frankly, is that I got sick of working for other people.

Uh, I was making a fortune and could continue to make a chance. I loved selling. I was very good at it consistently at every company. Every CEO always wanted to take me with them, but they'd still hire some administratively focused manager who didn't know what they're doing. That sounds like a lot of the people that you work for that was the used car salesperson or the door to door vacuum cleaner salesperson or the dashboard manager. Also, I had to work around it, uh, but if you go up against them, you're going to lose a. So you either gotta he's got to cooperate, but continue to figure out to do your job. I'm sorry. There isn't a better answer. This is why when you're looking for a job, that Mojo with the manager is critical. If you can't work with the person. So I was in the last situation, I had this idiot for vp.

I love the CEO. We would work together before very successful. We were crushing it, but this guy, you know, he was like, you got to update sales force you to do this. And I'm like, uh, you know, and I knew as soon as I put stuff in salesforce, he was going to start calling into my account and screwing it up because he had done it before. And you have to work around it and if you can't, you're gonna lose. So you got to go find something else somewhere else that, that's the option. I'm sorry. You know you can try, and bond with the people and most of them are open to what they are in a tight position. They are under a ton of pressure. I've been the first line sales manager before it is a hard job. I get it. Um, and we have to understand that they have a role too. We like to think that we're out there getting these deals and we'd want this autonomy. We would, but we don't work for ourselves. We are salespreneurs, but one of our customers is the company that we work for. So that's all I have to say about that. I hope it's been helpful.

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Apr 24, 2023

What I should have said is that if you are having to fight your boss, go find a different one that knows what they are doing.


Apr 24, 2023

I am a sales manager at a large firm, and we sell very complex engineered products and solutions, and we have high-level dial turners and KPI watchers that just don't get it. They sit in an office in the north and watch large screens full of KPI's and think they know how to run the business. Good thing they have lots of sellers that can sell a little.

The way they sold, (I sold), years ago doesn't work anymore. Customers want someone they can trust and have a relationship with, they want to know that you have their backs when the stuff hits the fans and that you will fight to make it work. It is 99% relationship or wh…

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